About Old City Hall

Designed by architect Oliver G. Traphagen, the city’s most distinguished and sought-after architect of the time, Duluth’s original city hall served as the center of city government and business from 1889 until 1926. It was built in brownstone in the popular Richardsonian Romanesque Revival style. Here is where the decision was made to build the Aerial Lift Bridge. Here was where Skyline Parkway was approved. Duluth became a fierce force of industry during the time politicians and business tycoons cut deals in its halls.

Today, the historic Third Floor, including the restored Council Chamber, the Snively Hall, and the former mayor’s office serve as compelling and beautiful event spaces. The Council Chamber is a glorious ballroom with period window treatments, glittering chandeliers, and original hardwood floors. It can seat up to 75 for a dinner occasion like a wedding reception, company banquet, or fundraising gala. It can also accommodate 125 for a cocktails and hors d’oeuvres reception. The Snively Hall is a spacious and inviting addition or stand-alone space for 50. With our preferred caterers and full bar service featuring Fitger’s Brewhouse ales and lagers and craft cocktails, your event will shine and provide memories for years to come.

On the Michigan Street first level, The Rathskeller, ranked one of Minnesota’s top whiskey bars, occupies a fabled place in Duluth’s history. Located beneath the city street in the basement of Old City Hall, it was once a holding cell for the municipal court one floor above and it also served as a coal furnace room during the building’s time as the center of city government from 1889-1926.

Rumors abound that the space was used as a speakeasy during Prohibition and patrons have reported ghostly sightings inside the bar. All of these interesting details along with the beautiful carved bluestone interior make The Rathskeller a sophisticated and provocative spot for events, including bachelor/ette parties, grooms’ dinners, networking events, men’s nights, and other gatherings for groups of up to 45 for a seated dinner or, if you’re looking for a mingling cocktail reception, the space fits up to 60 comfortably. We feature Fitger’s Brewhouse ales and lagers as well as a compelling selection of fine whiskeys, crafted cocktails, and wines along with catering options that will add flair to your special occasion.

Everything old is new again at Duluth’s Old City Hall. Make your mark. Contact us today about planning your next memorable event.